Chris Coons, as News Castle County Executive, wasted millions through overly generous sick leave policies for county bureaucrats. Similar to the fact that federal bureaucrats make twice as much as the private sector, Coons ensured that the sick leave policy for county bureaucrats was completely out of line with the private sector. In 2009, a bipartisan group of legislators questioned Coons’ generous sick leave policies:
Councilmen Robert Weiner (R-Chatham) and Timothy Sheldon (D-Pike Creek), who voted against a tax hike in May, have called for a review of sick leave policies, which they say cost too much. ‘Our policy is out of line with what is done in the private sector,’ Weiner said. ‘It may have been done this way in government for a long time, but we can’t keep doing the same things.’” (Jesse Chadderdon, “Critics Take Aim At NCCo’s Sick Leave Policy,” CommunityPub.com, August 12, 2009)
Coons’ unsustainable sick leave policy allowed county bureaucrats to have year-to-year carryover of sick days. It also gave a severance payout for retiring employees:
A flurry of recent e-mails between citizens, council members and County Executive Chris Coons’ office have raised questions about a policy that provides employees year-to-year sick day carryover and a capped severance payout for unused days upon ending employment on good terms. (Jesse Chadderdon, “Critics Take Aim At NCCo’s Sick Leave Policy,” CommunityPub.com, August 12, 2009)
According to CommunityPub.com, in 2009, $618,909 was paid out in unused sick leave to 40 retiring county bureaucrats. In 2008, $1.2 million was paid out to 58 retirees. In both cases, Coons made taxpayers pick up the tab for his extravagant pay out.
After being criticized for his policy, Coons declared he had no intention of ever changing the policy:
Coons said he has no intention of proposing changes to the policy, and has instead focused on other ways to reduce personnel costs — through pay freezes, changes to pension vesting, and increased employee benefits contributions. (Jesse Chadderdon, “Critics Take Aim At NCCo’s Sick Leave Policy,” CommunityPub.com, August 12, 2009)